NFL Picks Week 14: From the Gut
Well it's NFL Week 14 and I've finally worked up the nerve to make my picks public again. Last time my poor picks were laughed off the internet*, causing me to go into hiding for nine weeks...let's hope I do a little better this time around.
Week 14 gives us some interesting matchups, some not-so-interesting matchups, and a few genuinely horrible games. Sounds like a good time, right?
*Okay they weren't that bad but I had to get your attention somehow.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
Jason Miller/Getty Images
What can be said about this game that hasn't already been said?
Oh wait, I know—that the Browns actually have a chance at winning (hint—they don't).
The Browns catch a pretty tough break here, playing Baltimore and Pittsburgh in back-to-back weeks. Oh well.
The Pick: Pittsburgh
Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets
Rob Carr/Getty Images
The Jets are one tough team to figure out. They have the potential, but just haven't been able to put it all together when playing against the better teams in the league. Luckily for them, their opponent this week is the Chiefs, who are...not very good.
The Chiefs, losers of four straight, managed to snap that streak with a win over Chicago last week, forever ending Caleb Hanie's Super Bowl aspirations.
Sanchez-Hanie comparisons/jokes aside, there is no reason the Jets should drop this game (other than the fact that they're the Jets). The Chiefs' struggling offense will continue to do so, and the Jets will win this game no matter how many interceptions Mark Sanchez throws.
The Pick: NY Jets
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
According to Wikipedia, the record for punts by both teams in a game is 31, set by the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers way back in 1933.
This week, history will be made and records will be shattered, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, losers of six straight, take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, losers of three straight, in an epic punt battle. Both teams will combine for 32 punts in a 0-0 tie. The players will walk off the field with their heads held high, proud of their new place in the annals of football lore.
OR the Buccaneers will score a few more points than the Jaguars and somehow win this meaningless game.
The Pick: Tampa Bay
New England Patriots at Washington Redskins
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
The Colts put up 24 points on the Patriots. Can the Redskins do that too?
Can the Redskins put up the 30+ points that is necessary to actually beat the Patriots?
The Pick: New England
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
The first good matchup of the week features the up-and-down Falcons against the up-but-more-down Panthers.
I REALLY want to pick the Panthers for the upset here, but despite their explosive offense, their 27th-ranked rushing defense is not going to get it done against Michael Turner.
The Falcons will control the clock and try to keep the ball out of Cam Newton's hands. If Michael Turner gets less than 20 carries, Mike Smith is a fool.
The Pick: Atlanta
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
The thought of this game makes me sad, and I hope no one gets hurt.
The Pick: Baltimore
***Actually, this game could be fun if the Ravens display their tendency to play to their level of competition...maybe they'll start to think that THEY are the ones trying to ''suck for Luck.''
Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins
Jay Drowns/Getty Images
In this game we have the Eagles, on the road, against an underdog team playing tough, inspired football.
The Eagles. On the road.
I'm not sure how much more clear I could make this.
The Eagles. Against a team.
The Pick: Miami
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Boyyyyy howdy, I can't tell you how much I enjoy watching the Lions get penalized. I really couldn't tell you why, I feel the same way when I watch the Raiders or the Bungles.
Anyways, the Lions suck against the run, but that's okay because Adrian Peterson has been slowed with an ankle injury.
Even if Peterson plays and the whole Lions defense is ejected from the game, I'm not convinced that the Vikings can score enough points to keep up with Megatron and Co. (and by that I mean just Megatron and Matthew Stafford).
The Lions will score, the Vikings will fall and Nate Burleson will be penalized.
The Pick: Detroit
New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Early in the season, I picked Tennessee as one of my sleeper teams (along with the Giants, which isn't turning out quite so well) who would surprise the league come playoff-hunting time.
Well, the Titans should get some credit; they've done reasonably well and at 7-5 are a decent team.
However, their record shows that most of their wins have come against iffy competition, and Brees and the Saints are anything but.
While I like the Titans, neither their defense nor their offense will be able to keep up with the Saints, and Drew Brees will put on another fireworks display.
The Pick: New Orleans
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images
I'm sad that this isn't the Monday night game; in my opinion it's easily the game of the week.
Expect a brawl between two tough defensive teams. The Texans haven't missed a beat since losing starting quarterback Matt Schaub, and are riding a six-game win streak due to their solid running game and suffocating defense.
The Bengals started well but have begun to drop games after entering the tough part of their schedule, but they still have a good defense and the play of their rookies on offense has been impressive.
The Texans have found ways to win through adversity all season and I expect them to do the same here; the Bengals will lose a close one but put forth a valiant effort for their home fans.
The Pick: Houston
Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos
Scott Boehm/Getty Images
Wow. This game. Will be something.
If the Bears are really serious about sticking with Caleb Hanie at quarterback, then they literally will not score points on offense (Matt Forte being hurt guarantees this).
Theoretically, if the Broncos can avoid giving the ball to Brian Urlacher or Devin Hester, they should be able to win with just one field goal.
Will Tebow be able to work his magic against the mighty Bears defense? I'm not really sure. But hey, I can't wait to find out!
Gimme Tim Terrific in an old-fashioned, low-scoring game.
The Pick: Denver
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
First of all, if you haven't seen this from last week's game, you are seriously missing out.
Second of all, the Cardinals aren't going to win, and I'm out of things to say.
The Pick: San Francisco
Buffalo Bills at San Diego Chargers
Peter Aiken/Getty Images
This game is a case of two Doctor Jekyll/Mr. Hyde-esque teams playing who's who. Both teams started strong and fell apart at the seams, and neither have recovered convincingly.
At this point, I feel that the Chargers are a little more fixable than their bovine adversaries, who have lost their starting running back and five straight games.
The Pick: San Diego
Oakland Raiders at Green Bay Packers
Al Bello/Getty Images
Well this would have been a lock as one of the great games of the week, but then Oakland had to go and look absolutely horrible against the Dolphins. Now, it's not so clear.
However, I think the Raiders are definitely a better team than the one that showed up in Miami, and they will get things working again in Green Bay. Unfortunately, the Packers are simply not going to let up, and will likely practice their ground attack against Oakland's soft rushing defense.
The Raiders will actually score sometime in the first three quarters this week, but it won't be nearly enough.
The Pick: Green Bay
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
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Both of these teams have the potential to be contenders, but haven't found a way to get it completely together yet. The Giants have lost three games to good teams in the last four weeks (and one against Philly), while Dallas had their winning streak interrupted with an overtime loss to the Cardinals.
As I said earlier in the slideshow, I picked the Giants as my NFC sleeper team and I'm going to stand by that here: their pass rush is built to give playoff teams trouble and if they can get their running game going again (and with Ahmad Bradshaw back) they will be tough to beat in December.
The Pick: New York Giants
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
So I was at the Rams-49ers game last week, and yesterday I was struggling to remember how many points the Rams put up...but then I realized that THEY DIDN'T SCORE ANY.
I honestly feel bad for Steven Jackson; it's too bad that games can't be won on his effort alone.
The Seahawks, on the other hand, have done surprisingly well this season, all things being considered. With surprise victories over the Giants and Ravens, they've shown some toughness.
The Seahawks usually play extra hard for their home fans, and I don't see any reason that shouldn't continue on Monday night.
The Pick: Seattle